Community Support Activities in Bodhgaya
The Most Rev. Tatsuko Sugiyama, the founder of Daijokyo
, practiced the teachings of the Lotus Sutra in her quest to relieve sufferers
in the real world, through such social activities as caring for leprosy
patients, providing moral education for juvenile deliquents, helping disaster
victims and supporting needy people. In following the Most Rev. Sugiyama,
Daijokyo believers regard Bodhgaya and its poor neighborhood as our "dojo
(a place of learning and practicing the teaching)" for embodying the teachings of the Most Rev. Sugiyama in the modern world. In and outside Daijokyo Buddhist Temple we engage in various supportive activities for the sake of a better life for the local people.
The Great Buddha Statue in Bodhgaya, India
Daijokyo Vocational School
In 1988, Daijokyo donated an elementary school to Miyabigha village in
Bodhgaya. In Miyabigha, a particularly poor area of Bodhgaya, the former
educational environment for children was far from satisfactory. Consequently,
to meet the local needs, Daijokyo decided to build a school called “Ananda
Dvidya Peth.” “Ananda,” the name of one of the Ten Great Disciples of
Buddha, also means the joy and pleasure of children in playing and learning.
Along with the phrase “Dvidya Peth,” an Indian archaism for “school,”
the name of the facility reads "Ananda School” in English. Daijokyo
still supports Ananda School for its smooth operation, sending some staff
members of our Temple as full-time teachers.
Daijokyo Vocational School, founded in 1985 on the Daijokyo Buddhist Temple
premises, offers typewriting and machine-sewing courses for local youth
in Bodhgaya. Bihar, the state in which Bodhgaya is located, is one of the
poorest regions in India, with the persistent problem of job shortages
among young people. Daijokyo therefore provides a learning place for young
people, who have few educational opportunities, and helps them gain stable
jobs by obtaining qualification.
The typewriting course gives six-month training in English and Hindi. The
machine-sewing course is designed for girls, for the term of one year.
Both courses require no tuition; the School even supplies fabrics and other
materials for the machine-sewing course students. Students must take a
certification exam upon completion; only those who pass are granted a diploma.
This strict certification system of Daijokyo Vocational School, well known
in such local cities as Gaya, is an advantage in finding employment; students
work hard and earnestly at their daily training.
Class at Daijokyo Vocational School
Daijokyo Health Care Centre
Daijokyo Health Care Centre was established in 2000 in Sujata village (which
Hindus call Bakrour village), near Daijokyo Buddhist Temple. The village was
named after Sujata, a village girl who offered milk rice to Prince Siddhartha,
emaciated after six years of austerity. Prince Siddhartha gathered strength by
eating the milk rice, and finally achieved Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.
In a sense, it is no exaggeration to say that Sujata is a benefactor of all
Buddhists. In fact there is a small shrine in the village to commemorate her
offering of milk rice to Prince Siddhartha.
In contrast, people living in Sujata village today are too poor to get enough
medicine. We at Daijokyo therefore feel that, although we cannot directly repay
Sujata for the kindness she extended to Buddha some 2,500 years ago, we can at
least reciprocate her favor, on Buddha’s behalf, by providing the villagers of
present-day Sujata with medicines free of charge. We now engage in free medicine
distribution twice a week in Sujata village; moreover, in the autumn of 2006 we
introduced a car dedicated to this purpose and opened the “Mobile Distribution
Centre” in Itawa village.
Health consultation by a doctor
Daiokyo Health Care Centre
Class at Ananda School